Citroen Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier has admitted to frustration at having to penalize Sebastien Ogier in order to boost the Citroen Total World Rally Team's chances of success.
Ogier dropped from second to sixth place on last week's Jordan Rally, in order to run ahead of Sebastien Loeb on the road to boost the six-time champion's chances in the third round of this year's WRC. Loeb won the event, but Ogier took eight instead of a possible 18 points from his trip to the Middle East.
Nogier said: "I'm not a fan of the tactics. Since the start of the rally, we must stay to try and help the big team (Citroen Total World Rally Team) and we don't really do the rally without tactics. Each time we have to think what we do, to make sure we don't penalize [Sebastien] Loeb or anybody in the big team.
"We have to send the target time to the car all of the time. The first day we let Sebastien [Ogier] drive normally and not receive any target time because we wanted to stay ahead of Sebastien [Loeb], it's clear. For us, it's a big, big shame, we have to penalize Sebastien every time and it's not fair for him."
Nogier said the fault lay with the regulation rather than with the Citroen Total team, adding: "It's obligatory, the regulation is like this and we have to play with this. But it's impossible. Perhaps it would be better with another regulation. This is the second gravel rally this year and it's the second time we have to play like this. For sure, it doesn't help for him to get a good result at the end of the rally."
Loeb said he was as surprised as anybody when Ogier arrived at the start of the final day's first stage and the former Junior World Rally Champion drove past him and into the stage.
"Really, I was surprised," he said. "I was not expecting this. I was just sitting and talking and then he came around and went in ahead of me. It's difficult. These tactics are not sport. This is a bit like a chess game that Malcolm [Wilson] and [Olivier] Quesnel are playing and we are driving. It's not so nice."
During the Jordan Rally, it was confirmed that extra budget has been sourced and Ogier will contest Rally New Zealand.
Nogier added: "We took the decision that Sebastien [Ogier] would go to New Zealand just before Jordan, it's not in any way influenced by this weekend."